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What’s in a name?

What’s popular and what’s not

The baby is almost ready to enter the world, and the decision of what to name the new addition to the family is a tough one. Do you name the child after great-great-grandpa, or do you give him his own identity? Do you lovingly use your mother-in-law’s name, or are you thinking about a more popular name of a character you’ve seen on TV or at the movies?

Naming a baby can be tough, especially if the two parents (and often grandparents get in on the discussion) can’t agree. One thing for sure, the baby will live with your decision the rest of their life, so you’ll want to think long and hard about the name you give your new bundle of joy.

While experts in the naming field have a variety of theories about what kind of name should be suit a child for the future, the most popular names for boys and girls have remained similar throughout the years.

At St. Margaret’s Birthing Unit in Spring Valley, Heather Knoblauch, perinatal coordinator, glanced through the names given to new babies at St. Margaret’s Health in Spring Valley, and what she found was many of the names are quite unusual. Several were “made-up” names — titles that hadn’t been heard before or more common names that were spelled in an unusual manner. While there were a few more common names in the book, Knoblauch said the biggest trend she could see was that many of the names began with an “A” or and “E.” As she read down the list of first names, each one was different — only a few were alike.

At, the experts there said parents should start thinking about their newborn’s name early in the pregnancy. They caution soon-to-be parents there are many considerations like “appeasing relatives, avoiding embarrassing initials or nicknames, and steering clear of monikers associated with bad memories.” These are some of the main points to keep in mind:

• “Uniqueness. An unusual name has the advantage of making the bearer stand out from the crowd. On the other hand, a name no one has heard of and few can pronounce can bring attention a child would rather avoid. One way of striking a balance is to choose a familiar first name if the child’s last name is unusual, and vice versa.”

• “Relatives and friends. Many parents choose to name their babies after a grandparent, other relative or close friend. Take ideas graciously, but don’t tell anyone what you and your partner have decided until after the baby is born — when it’s too late to give in to any subtle hints. And never let anyone pressure you into a name you don’t like.”

• “Ancestry and heritage. Your child’s heritage is an essential part of who she/he is, and you may want their name to reflect that. Your religious preference may steer you toward a certain category of names. Or perhaps your family has a tradition of naming first-born sons after their fathers. If you love a name but it doesn’t meet your family’s traditional requirements, consider using it as a middle name.”

• “Initials and nicknames. People, especially kids, can be cruel when it comes to nicknames, so try to anticipate any potentially embarrassing ones.”

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Top 25 most popular boys names in Illinois
1. Alexander
2. Daniel
3. Jacob
4. Michael
5. Anthony
6. Ethan
7. Joshua
8. William
9. Nathan
10. Aiden
11. David
12. Matthew
13. Jayden
14. Christopher
15. Noah
16. Joseph
17. Benjamin
18. Ryan
19. Logan
20. Andrew
21. Tyler
22. James
23. Angel
24. John
25. Jack

Top 25 most popular girls names in Illinois
1. Isabella
2. Olivia
3. Sophia
4. Emma
5. Emily
6. Ava
7. Abigail
8. Mia
9. Madison
10. Ella
11. Addison
12. Elizabeth
13. Samantha
14. Natalie
15. Chloe
16. Grace
17. Alexis
18. Alyssa
19. Leah
20. Lily
21. Anna
22. Sofia
23. Ashley
24. Evelyn
25 Taylor

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